The why and how of recycling e-waste
Photo by Abe Draper
We all are guilty of tossing aside the obsolete cell phone, tablet, laptop or DVD player for the latest electronic gadget. In fact, with the short “life expectancies” of some of the tools we use to manage our businesses, keep in touch and keep up with what is going on around the world, it is likely (but not inevitable) that our once shiny new toys could someday make their way to a garbage bin or landfill, unless we take the time to recycle these valuable, yet potentially hazardous outcasts.
Greenpeace estimates that 20 to 60 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) are discarded annually around the globe. It is actually the fastest growing component of all municipal solid waste and currently makes up five percent of what goes into municipal landfills. Because of the sheer volume of electronic refuse, it has finally caught the attention of environmentalists and engineers alike…
Environmentalists are seeking ways to recycle e-waste, lowering the negative impact on the planet, and preventing the sizable amounts of lead, cadmium, brominated fire retardants and plastics from contaminating soil and leaching into the water supply. Engineers, see the value of reclaiming the valuable elements such as aluminum, gold and copper, as well as harvesting the hazardous heavy metals such as lead and mercury, radioactive substances and halogenated compounds so they can be reused.
4 Simple E-Waste Recycling Tips